In the Garden > Flowering Plants & Shrubs
Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea cv.)
Spectacular bougainvilleas, such are the red flowering 'Scarlet O'Hara', are very hardy and will survive without much water or fertiliser. In fact, they thrive on neglect. They will put on a fabulous flower display for many months as long as they receive plenty of sunshine and are grown in a warm position.
Frangipani (Plumeria varieties)
These small deciduous trees have fragrant flowers throughout summer and are best suited to sunny spots in tropical to warm, frost-free coastal areas. Frangipani was once available mostly in white with a yellow centre, but a wide range of colour varieties is now available including yellow, apricot, salmon, pink, red and crimson.
Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis)
The flowers of this evergreen shrub can be single, semi-double or double. They come in red, pink, orange, yellow and white, often with several colours in the one flower. The leaves are dark green and glossy, with a paler reverse. Variegated varieties are also available. H. rosa-sinensis does best in warm temperate and tropical climates. Some older varieties (such as 'Apple Blossom') are very hardy and will tolerate cooler conditions. In very cold areas try growing a deciduous species such as H. syriacus.
Jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia)
A native of the dry, high plains of Brazil and Argentina, jacarandas are so popular in Australia some people think they're Australian natives. They grow to around 10-15 metres (30-45') tall, and have lacy green foliage which turns yellow in autumn before falling. The lovely trumpet-shaped flowers appear before the leaves return, then drop to form a blue carpet underneath the tree. The flower colour varies from soft blue through to mauve/blue and almost purple. Jacarandas prefer a sunny position, rich well-drained soil and protection from wind and frost when young. One important thing to remember is that it's better not to prune jacarandas. After pruning they send up lots of ugly vertical shoots which spoil the appearance of the tree. Jacarandas grow well in most areas of Australia, with the exception of the mountains and Hobart.
Poinciana (Delonix regia)
Considered to be one of the most beautiful of all the flowering trees, the poinciana comes from Madagascar. It grows into an umbrella shape, about three times as wide as it is tall. In summer the crown of the tree is covered in large, scarlet flowers made up of five petals. Four of the petals are orange to scarlet; the fifth is white or yellow with scarlet or crimson spots and streaks. Poincianas grow in Brisbane and the tropics.
Gardenia (Gardenia augusta)
Gardenias are attractive, low maintenance shrubs with large, creamy white flowers and glossy green leaves. The flowers have an exquisite perfume that pervades surrounding areas and creates a magical, romantic atmosphere in the garden. Gardenias are warm climate plants, which are at their best in a mild, humid climate. Gardenia augusta 'Florida' is one of the best gardenias available. It grows to about 1m x 1m (3'x3') and produces masses of perfumed flowers on a hardy plant.
Roses (Rosa sp.)
Roses are a must in any garden. Don's favourites are fragrant varieties such as 'Blue Moon', 'Double Delight' and 'Papa Meilland', but there are hundreds of others to choose from. Roses are sold bare rooted in winter, but are available all year in pots.
Heliotrope or cherry pie (Heliotropium arborescens)
An evergreen shrub growing to around 1m (3') tall and 1.5m (5') wide. From early spring to late summer it produces clusters of violet to mauve flowers with a heady, vanilla fragrance. Heliotrope grows best in the warmer parts of Australia.
Angels trumpet (Brugmansia x candida)
Native to South America, Brugmansias are grown for their beautiful trumpet-like flowers and scent, which is more prominent in the evening. Flowers are greenish-white and appear during summer and autumn. Grand Marnier has peach coloured flowers. Brugmansias like a sunny position and a frost-free climate.
New Zealand Christmas bush (Metrosideros excelsus)
The New Zealand Christmas bush or pohutukawa grows into a tree around 12m (40') tall. It has dark green leaves with grey felty undersides, and masses of pin-cushion flowers with scarlet stamens in summer. A variegated variety (Variegata) is also commonly seen.
New South Wales Christmas bush (Ceratopetalum gummiferum)
This small, evergreen tree produces white flowers in spring, with sepals that enlarge and turn red in summer. It is very popular as a cut flower at Christmas time. As the red colouring varies, it is best to buy plants in flower or choose a cultivar such as Alburys Red.
Geraniums (Pelargonium x hortorum)
Commonly referred to as garden or pot geraniums, pelargoniums grow in all areas of Australia. In cold, frosty areas they may be grown as annuals. They come in many different flower colours and some have colourful leaves.
Impatiens (Impatiens sp.)
Fast growing impatiens are a riot of colour in the summer garden. They prefer a moist position in sun to semi-shade, with protection from strong winds.
Agapanthus (Agapanthus praecox)
The most commonly grown agapanthus is A. praecox but there are many cultivars now available. Flower colours include blue, purple-blue and white.
All of the plants described above are readily available at nurseries and garden centres, and now is the time to buy them!
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